It’s a bit of a mixed bag this month, but then that’s always the case with me. First up some old time folk n’ roll with one of the remaining stalwarts of The Band, Levon Helm, who is 69 years old but in no way does his singing betray his age. His last album Dirt […]
It’s a bit of a mixed bag this month, but then that’s always the case with me. First up some old time folk n’ roll with one of the remaining stalwarts of The Band, Levon Helm, who is 69 years old but in no way does his singing betray his age. His last album Dirt Farmer brought him back to a new generation of folk musicians. This album, eclectically titled Electric Dirt, kind of picks up from where that one left off. Although this leans a bit towards the gospel side, it not without merit that Levon takes on two Muddy Waters tunes, ‘Stuff You Gotta Watch’ and ‘You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had’. Even the Grateful Dead find their place on the opening track ‘Tennessee Jed’. Oh, and by the way, this is a man who has survived throat cancer. Inspiring and invigorating.
A ten year circle closes, what was begun with 1999’s Play. This is the Moby we famously know. This is Moby the musician, not the DJ. This is Moby feeling for all that is good and natural around him. And taking it all in and putting it together in lush vibrant soundscapes that evoke serenity, melancholy, surrealism and a quest for the beyond, wherever that may lie. I have always appreciated Moby for his unbending stand on the de-commercialisation of popular music; not that I agree completely, after all Play was one of his most commercially accessible works, but still there is a certain art that needs to emerge from all commerce for the two to exist on both sides of the coin. Wait For Me does that. Put it on, turn it up loud and float away.
So this is what Rob Thomas wants to do in between Matchbox Twenty albums. I thought he would have learnt better from the fan backlash that happened with his first solo album back in 2005. Although the album was a huge success, Matchbox Twenty fans had a bit of an issue with Rob’s indie cred going mainstream. Which is probably what prompted 2007’s Exile on Mainstream a double album that collated their hits along with six new songs. But to come back to Cradlesong, this album is a perfect example of how one straddles the pop-rock divide that has been successfully bridged by artists like Phil Collins, Paul Simon, Rick Springfield and Bruce Springsteen in the past. In the end it’s all about the songs, always. And in my opinion if you can write the kind of music that can reach out to a maximum amount of listeners out there, you’re flying, baby.
What is it that makes such a simple band so liked and loved? Well I think the answer is in the question. One of the most unpretentious and unassuming bands out there right now, Wilco have put out their seventh simple, unpretentious and unassuming album to great creative and musical triumph. Every song brims with a relaxed energy that seems to make the sun rise in your heart. Jeff Tweedy, in my opinion is the unofficial reincarnation of George Harrison. And proof is in the song ‘You Never Know’. Here are four stellar albums that can keep you company through these rainy days and rainy nights. See you on the other side.